Integrity, Leaders

Leadership Integrity

The level of integrity a leader exhibits consistently sets the stage for how the team and the team members conducts themselves. Leaders are models for members and integrity standards are set by leaders. If leaders displays low integrity, it is quickly picked up and understood that it too is ok for the entire group to behave similarly. Yet, if leaders can consistently perform with high integrity, that will set the culture of high integrity throughout.

Part of integrity is honesty, being able to tell truths and deliver on your promises. You can read more about honesty and leadership at my other blog Honesty Does Not Mean Keeping Your Word. Another largely important part of integrity is the conduct and decision making of a leader.

Making the right decision, the moral decision, in front of others is much easier than when needing to do so in private. When put into situation where others are observing and judging you on the decisions you make, it’s easy to make the moral decision that others can show immediate signs of approval. The attending members can even be used to gauge whether the decisions made will be generally accepted. Feeling out the immediate response from the members present, you can alter or adjust your decisions accordingly.

When needing to make decisions private, it’s more challenging to maintain your integrity. But this is really when integrity is most important. Making the right moral decision regardless of who is present forms high integrity. Regardless of the decision or conduct comes to public light in the future, making the moral decision privately is what great leaders do. Having consistent behavior to always make the proper decision and good code of conduct as a leaders sets high expectations for high integrity for the entire group.

Once you set the high integrity expectation for yourself and your team, everything becomes easier. Your team has trust and faith in you as a leader and know that you will do right by them no matter what. They understand that your high integrity is not just for show, but it’s at the core of your values. This will too be mimicked by the team and the team will to behave with the expected high level of integrity set. You, as a leader, need not worry about your member’s judgement as you can trust that they too will make the right decisions, and conduct themselves professionally and appropriately whether in your presence or not.

Leaders who does not conduct themselves with integrity sets the same tone for the team and followers. The team will always doubt the leader and will never trust that the leader will make the moral decision for them. The members will to put their own personal needs first and will make decisions only to advance their own personal gains. This sets a very toxic precedence for the team and very poor culture. It will take much greater effort to get things done and opportunities for conflicts will always be present.

Be aware that as a leader, you’re constantly being observed. Your good behaviors and the moral decisions you make will be copied. However, deceitful behaviors and poor judgments will to be mimicked. Understand that every decisions you make has greater impact than just the decision. Set high expectations for yourself to lead with integrity and your team will follow the same path.

Photo by: Jamie Street

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